One of the most terrifying things about going through depression is the idea that it will never end. Our minds are terrificly mysterious. Our minds play tricks on us. Whatever disposition we find ourselves in we believe it is permanent. When I experienced my time of depression last month, ignorance was not a friend. I did not know what was going on. I did not know why my mind was broken. This added to and, probably, prolonged the depression. Was it something I did? Was it something chemical in my brain? Did I need anti-depressants? Was there a lifestyle choice that built up over time and was taxing me? I did not know. Had I known it would have been much easier. If I had omniscience, I could have looked ahead into the future and known with certainty that it would subside in a few weeks. If I knew everything, I could correct the problem by taking the most definite measures to overcome it. But such is the plight of man. We don’t know everything. We don’t know the future. We have to live in such way where we attempt to make the most appropriate decisions as they seem to us at the time. We have to learn to trust the Lord, placing the future in his hands.

The Bible tells us that Christ can sympathize with us in all our weaknesses and that he has been tempted like us in everything (Heb 4:15). Many times I don’t really believe this. Think about it. There are some things that Christ was not tempted to do. For example, Christ was never tempted to tell a lie to cover up another lie! As well, there are certain weaknesses that I have which Christ does not seem to have had. For example, as I said above, I don’t know the future. Because of this, decision making is very difficult. It makes depression much more depressing. If I knew the future, this life would be much, much easier. Exhaustive knowledge of all things would be even better. So many problems and so much weakness would be done away with. Who should I marry? How many kids should I have? What vocation should I pursue? Why am I down? Should I send this email or not? How exactly should I respond in this or that difficult circumstance? If I could draw upon omniscience, all of these questions—all of these weaknesses—would be a snap. I would always know exactly what to do.

What were Christ’s limitations? Did he have any? Was he ever depressed, not knowing what the future holds? What did Christ know and when did he know it? What could Christ do and how could he do it?

Most Christians see Christ first through his deity. Sure we believe that Christ is both God and man, but when it comes to our default understanding of him as we read the Scriptures, we normally see only his deity. If he knew something which ordinarily could not be known, we attribute it to his deity. If he did something that could not normally be done, we credit his divine nature.

However, when it comes to some of the more troublesome passages, we often find our theology insufficient to cover the details. When Christ was in the Garden and asked that the “cup” of suffering pass from him (Lk 22:42), we are confused. When he asks the Father, “Why have you forsaken me” from the cross (Mk 15:34), we don’t know how to take it. And when he says that he does not know the day or the hour of his coming (Matt 24:36), we are baffled. In fact, so confused was some early scribe concerning Christ’s confession of ignorance, he omitted the phrase “nor the son” from the manuscript. The question is: How could Christ, who is God, not be omniscient (know everything, including the future)? Why didn’t Christ know the time of his coming?

There are a few options:

1. Christ really did know; we just don’t know why he said this.

2. Christ did not know for some unknown reason reason, but he knew everything else.

3. Christ did not know because, being a man, he was no longer omniscient.

4. Christ did not know since he did not access his omniscience due to the rules of the incarnation.

My contention is that number four is correct.

Let me be brief and clear with my thesis:

Although Christ was fully God, he never independently accessed any of his divine powers or knowledge. All of his miraculous actions and understanding were the result of his submission to God and came by way of the power of the Holy Spirit. Further, if Christ had at any time accessed his own power or omniscience independently, he would not be qualified as the second Adam and could not represent us in redemption.

This means that there were many things that Christ did not know. It was not simply that Christ chose on a one-by-one basis what not to know, but that he, like every human, had limitations of knowledge. He had to grow and learn just like all people. When he knew things that are beyond the abilities of normal humanity, like when he knew the background of the woman at the well (Jn 4:17-18), he knew them by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, just like the prophets. When he did things that are beyond the abilities of normal humanity, like walking on water, he did so by the power of the Spirit.

In summary, I believe that while Christ exercised divine prerogatives (forgiving sins, claiming to be God, receiving worship, etc.), he did not ever exercise his own divine attributes independently of the Holy Spirit’s guidance. His knowledge and miracles do not alone substantiate his deity, as parallels to all Christ’s miracles and knowledge can be found in the prophets. But his miracles substantiate his deity because they substantiate his testimony.

Concerning this, there is no one “orthodox” belief that all Christians of all time have held to.  There seems to be spectrum of belief here. While orthodox Christianity does not entertain the idea that Christ was no longer God in the incarnation (kenotic theory), it does not necessarily speak as to whether or not he used his own divine powers independently or submitted completely to the Holy Spirit.

I believe the latter is correct for the following reasons:

1. It seems biblically correct:

There are many places in the Scripture that speak of Christ’s limitations and about his complete submission to God and the Holy Spirit.

In Luke 4:1 we are told that Christ was “full of the Holy Spirit” and that the Spirit “led” Christ into the wilderness to be tempted. Why didn’t he lead himself?

When Christ is tempted in the wilderness, he responds to the devil by quoting the Old Testament Scriptures, not using his own words (which were inspired by definition). Why not just speak directly?

Luke 2:40 speaks of Christ’s growth in wisdom, implying a previous lack.

In John 14:10 we understand that Christ does not speak on his own initiative, but based on the Fathers. Why not his own?

Acts 1:2 tells us that Christ instructed the Apostles through the Holy Spirit’s authority. Why not through his own authority?

Acts 10:38 tells us that Christ’s anointing was through the Holy Spirit and his power was from the Father. Why not use his own power?

In Acts 2:22 we are told that it was the Father’s power that gave Christ the ability to do the miracles. Again, why didn’t he use his own power.

Mark 13:32 demonstrates that Christ did not know the day or hour of his coming. How do we explain this void of knowledge.

In Luke 8:45 Christ was ignorant of who touched him. What a mundane thing to be ignorant of.

John 11:34 tells us that Christ was ignorant of where Lazarus had been laid. Again, another mundane statement of ignorance.

Is seems theologically correct:

Have you ever wondered why the Devil’s first temptation to Christ was to turn a stone into bread? What is the big deal in that? It does not seem like a sin. If I had that power, would it be a sin for me to use that power? However, the Devil’s plan was much more strategic than we often think. His goal was not simply to have Christ turn a rock into a meal, but to have Christ independently access his own omnipotence (power) for self-satisfaction. You see, Christ had to become like us in every respect in order to represent us. This is why the dictates of Chalcedon (451) are so important. If Christ did not become fully man, then we lose representation. If Christ was not fully God, there is no power of salvation. Christ had to be fully God and fully man for redemption to be accomplished and applied. Satan was tempting Christ to do something that would forfeit his representation of us and therefore forfeit redemption. Had Christ turned the stone into bread based on an independent use of his own power and authority, he could only represent those of us who can do the same by their own power and authority. Since there is no one who has such abilities, no one could be represented.

With this in mind, it is perfectly understandable why Christ did not know certain things, including the time of his coming. Christ only knew what needed to be known for his mission. This is like us. For both Christ and us, we must rely upon and trust in God completely for the unknown future.

Least you think I am saying something novel here, let me quote a few sources:

Donald Macleod:

“The other line of integration between the omniscience of the divine nature and the ignorance of the human is that just as Christ had to fulfill the office of Mediator with the limitations of a human body, so he had to fulfill it within the limitations of a human mind.”

Concerning the temptation in the wilderness he writes,

“Part of the truth here is suggested by the first of the three temptations in the desert: ‘tell these stones to become bread’ (Mt. 4:3). The essence of the temptation was that the Lord disavow the conditions of the incarnation and draw on his omnipotence to alleviate the discomforts of his self-abasement. He could have turned the stones into bread; he could have (perhaps) known the day and the house of his parousia. But the latter would have undone his work as surely as the former. Christ had to submit to knowing dependently and to knowing partially. He had to learn to obey without knowing all the facts and to believe without being in possession of full information. He had to forgo the comfort which omniscience would sometimes have brought.”

He goes on,

“Omniscience was a luxury always within reach, but incompatible with his rules of engagement. He had to serve within the limitations of finitude” (The Person of Christ, IVP, 169).

 Millard Erickson:

“Perhaps we could say that he [Christ] had such knowledge as was necessary for him to accomplish his mission; in other matters he was as ignorant as we” (Christian Theology, Baker, 726; Leon Morris shares the same thoughts in Lord from Heaven, 48).

Tomas Oden:

“During his earthly ministry, the communication of divine power to the human Jesus was administered by the Holy Spirit, upon whom he constantly relied. Jesus taught, acted, and suffered what the Spirit enabled, directed, and permitted.”

He goes on:

“[T]here was sufficient impartation of divine empowerment to Jesus as was needed for each stage of the fulfillment of his office of Mediator” (The Word of Life, Prince Press, 183-184).

One point of note that needs to be reiterated here: While Christ did not independently utilize his divine attributes to make it through this life, he always had immediate access to them. Christ never ceased to be God and did not give up his divine attributes at the incarnation. He simply chose not to use them in order to qualify to be our representative. This is made clear by the very fact that Satan tempted him to use his own power to satisfy his hunger. If Christ did not have access to this power, then the temptation is meaningless. According to this line of reasoning, Christ’s full deity is actually substantiated.

But don’t be misled here. Ignorance does not equal error. Just because Christ, living according to the rules of the incarnation, was ignorant of some things, this does not mean he was ever wrong. He never spoke in error.

Was Christ ever depressed? To the degree that depression was not based on his own sinfulness, yes, he could have experienced depression. He most certainly experienced frustration, sadness, and anger. Christ was fully human. Christ had to suffer with the same limitations as us. He could only do, act, and know what was given to him by the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit. These were the requirements of the cross.

Having said this, I do believe that such line of reasoning causes us to pause and reflect on just how much Christ can relate to us in every way as a mediator. He was just like us. He had to trust in God for his future as you and I do. He had to rely on the Holy Spirit for his mission and power just like us.

I will attempt to answer some very worthy objections to this in the next post. However, feel free to comment and voice your own thoughts.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Find him everywhere: Find him everywhere

    44 replies to "Was Christ Ever Depressed? or “Why Didn’t Christ Know the Time of His Coming?”"

    • Ed Kratz

      BTW: I created a poll concerning this subject. Upper right.

    • Sam

      Well said Michael!!!

    • Coleman Glenn

      Coming at this from a very different (i.e. heretical?) theological framework as a Swedenborgian. My reading is that Jesus was Divine as to His soul from inception, but that as to His body and parts of His mind, He was merely human at His birth, and only gradually became completely Divine. Throughout His life He was attacked by demons, and He experienced temptations – which included states of near-despair and probably depression – in that human part of Himself. The times when He seems to be separate from the Father are states where His consciousness is in His mere humanity, where He couldn’t see from the Divine perspective; the times when He seems to be one with the Father are states where His conscious is in the Divine humanity. By victory over the demons in His temptations, He subdued the power of hell which threatened to overpower heaven, and glorified His humanity. At the last temptation He completely defeated the power of hell, and became completely Divinely Human – and in doing this allowed Himself to be present with humanity in a new way, thereby reopening a way for salvation.

    • Oun

      All the five choices in the poll are wrong answers, I dare say.

      The text in question is fully shown in Mk 13:32, whereas in Mt 24:36 the phrase ‘neither the Son’ is not present in some mss. Some may want to see it as an Evangelist’s comment, rather than something directly from Jesus saying.

      Debates over over whether Jesus during in His earthly life was capable or incapable of knowing the (already fixed divine) plan (regarding the timing) to explain the text is, to me, like barking at a wrong tree. I don’t think the point in question has anything to do with divine omniscience or about the issue of His divinity vs. humanity.

      The issue of the time/date is simply not something programmed beforehand as if we are dealing with the static (dead) system, but it is something to be brought out in effect into the human history. It is to be from dynamic Trinitarian relation of love between Father and Son. That means it is to become known only after His glorification-ascension. Jesus did not know because it was not determined and he was still on earthly mission. Yes, it is Father to make it known. Father ‘KNEW already’? – I don’t think that’s what the text says.

    • Michael T.

      You an open theist?

    • Stuart

      I have a tendency to focus on the divinity of Jesus almost at the expense of his humanity. In view of this detractor and the fact that I personally suffer from bouts of intense low mood, I found this article thoroughly edifying and encouraging, in that it provoked the sense that Jesus fully perceives our suffering.

      Thank you so much Michael, your blog has become essential reading for my own personal walk.

    • Jeff

      I’m struggling with Cardis comment about depression being a “state of sin”. I respectfully disagree. I’m not sure why depression gets special status seemingly in some church circles as being something closer to evil or sin. How is it different than cancer? I ask that … not really expecting an answer. I think this is probably a very lengthy discussion.

      My wife has been through multiple severe depressions and it has been quite difficult to know what to do in each case. While there is prayer, counseling, and medical help and we’ve certainly been down all those paths and sought it out, it is imperfect and that is frustrating to say the least but a most discouraging thing is when someone even infers that it is brought on by sin. It kind of stings as if someone is being singled out for the punishment that Christ already bore. If that were true, shouldn’t all of us be depressed always but for the Grace of God.

      I believe that we are all sinners, in this life we will probably get sick because as Paul says our bodies are like a tent (they get worn out), if we receive the gift of salvation offered by Christ, in heaven we won’t get sick any longer.

      We may never know if Christ got depressed (but I think its totally plausible that he could have). It would have been totally consistent with him experiencing and understanding human suffering … and I think its possible that we may never fully know why we or a loved one may have to suffer with the burden of depression … we can simply just try to love them.

      I’m not saying this because I’m good at it … I’m still learning this truth … I’m just saying it because I think if there is one thing I’ve learned it is that depression is temporary and we are called to love on people at all times and especially in their time of need because that is what Christ would do.

      Absent Christ work on the cross, life (not depression) is a state of sin.

    • cherylu

      I have a problem too with the idea that depression is sin. It may be true in some cases. But to generalize it, seems to be wrong to me. I have been through two bouts of severe depression in my life. The second time was after losing a baby in miscarraige. I will always remember it being referred to by someone as my “fall”. I don’t think that was at all helpful and it left me wondering if I had really done something sinful in what had happened to me.

    • Lee H

      Are not 3 and 4 the same thing but worded differently?

      If Christ had known all things would it not blow His human mind or at least make Him something other than human?

      Therefore He could not be omniscient if He is incarnate since if He was He wouldn’t be incarnate.

      Also what do you mean by omniscient? Knowing all things at once and can know anything at any time, but not all at once?

    • TruthSleuth

      Great Post!

      One question I have is how are we to interpret Jesus’ sin nature. Meaning as part of his incarnation, was Jesus born with a sin nature? Obviously scripture is very clear that Jesus was sinless and was a perfect and acceptable sacrifice before the Father, but was part of his humanity having to deal with a sin nature? I guess this could get bogged down in an issue of the age of accountability, and speculating about did baby Jesus throw a temper tantrum is not really revealed to us. I guess my question is more along the lines of did Jesus have a sin nature he constantly had to deny? I am not questioning whether or not he actually sinned, but more about the sin nature that is inherent in the human condition post the fall. Your post got me thinking that if Jesus as fully man had to retain the make up of fully man in order for his work on the cross to be completed, did his make up include having and overcoming a inherent sin nature?

    • Jessie

      Your question made me think. What was it like for Adam to be tempted, since it seems he did not have a sinful nature prior to the fall?
      As the second Adam, it seems Jesus would have posessed that same unfallen nature that Adam had in Eden. Thus, when he was tempted it would have been similar to what Adam experienced.

    • JG

      I may also note here the publication of Bruce Ware’s superb ETS Presidential Address: “The Man Christ Jesus,” JETS 53/1 (2010): 5-18. If you are an ETS member, you can access it at

      It argues along these same lines and offers excellent implications for the life of the believer.

    • Cadis

      Maybe I should have chosen my words more carefully and said that depression is a certain state of sin, sickness is also a certain state of sin. Neither states are ideal states, they fall short of ideal. Sometimes depression is due to personal sin and sometimes due, as I said before, to being bombarted by living with sin in this fallen world (the onslaught of sin that wears at us) but either way it is not ideal, or so I’m thinking. I do also think it can be a genetic or chemical imbalance due totally to physical reasons but I believe that is not the general rule for the average person suffering from common depression. I was speaking of common depression not mental illnesses or scarring that is caused by abuse or other such deeper problems that can happen to the mind.

    • Cadis

      But even if depression is brought on by living and battling against sin in this world, for Christ to be in a position of clinical depression, I still think not. Depression unlike physical sickness effects the mind and emotions, both these are linked with faith aren’t they? isn’t depression usually filled with doubt toward God and even anger at God? so I’m leaning toward, no Christ did not suffer depression.

    • Coleman Glenn

      Is it sinful to experience doubt? It seems like a person could have faith in his heart and the higher levels of his mind but still have doubts in the lower levels of his mind. How do you explain Jesus crying out, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” I know that He was quoting a Psalm, but to me there’s nothing in the context to suggest that He was not actually experiencing that feeling.

    • Michael T.

      I think you misunderstand the nature of sin. Sin is not simply something that is “less than the ideal”. It is not sin for someone to live in a shack with a leaky roof rather than a middle class home with all the amenities which would be “idea”. Sin is missing the mark of God’s holy standard, not simply being in circumstances which are “less than ideal”. I would venture to guess that whether or not Jesus was ever depressed he certainly got ill just like the rest of us. Why do I say this? Because if he didn’t he wasn’t truly “fully human”. Part of being human is being a physical being which means being susceptible to disease (mental and physical), injury, and death. Thus I think you’re statements also reflect a degree of gnostic thinking that CMP blogged on before in that you seem to imply the sinfulness or at least inferiority of the physical.

    • Oun

      To Michael,

      from some of my thought:

      Am I open theist? I cannot answer yet, because it is going to take several days’ worth of reading a few books on it. If open theism is a systematic explanation of the things pertaining God, I may not agree with all of what they would say.

      But this much is sure. That God is a supra-temporal being – that does not mean that in God-being there is no something comparable to ‘time’ in our dimension (time-space continuum), aside from the fact that God has intimately tied Himself with our non-divine world. E.g. If God wills, there must be ‘time’ before He does and ‘time’ after He does. There was ‘time’ with Him before He created Adam; there was ‘time’ with Him after He created Adam. He is to be ‘time’ He would set the ‘time’ of fulfillment for His Son’s coming. God is Logos. Logos is not something inscribed on a stone tablet but is coming out of God to be read in our heart as tell. All things He has cannot be something already scripted out and recorded somewhere to be opened up one after another. That would be not a personal God, but ‘Force’, a static state of things. Our God is in dynamic Trinitarian relationship, always in motion – dancing – and a-changing. It is like lovers in love – they are forever in motion and they don’t follow a script which tells what to do how to do in love. Dynamic trinitarianism is what derives my thinking; open theism may or may not have some overlapping but that would be just as a derivative.

    • wandering_sheep

      Satan tempting Christ to turn stone into bread – What is the relevance of Christ’s reply for us personally in our lives, when we feel our “hunger”, our human needs and desires, pressing down on us? Could this be linked with his reply to his disciples later on, when they insist he has something to eat?

      The connection between depression and sin – Does being depressed make us less worthy of God’s grace? What is Christ’s promise to those who mourn and who are sad now? If we live perfect lives in the eyes of God, will nothing bad ever happen to us? Did nothing bad ever happen to Christ? How does faith in God’s grace, faith that he will send His angels to help us when our temptation is over, affect our state of mind?

      “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” – What happened next? Was he forsaken? In those times when we feel God has abandoned us, are we forsaken?

    • Cadis

      I don’t believe it is Gnosticism to hate cancer, or depression or poverty. Or wars or crime or hate, all these are part and parcel of a fallen world and we are held accountable for these very things, because we stand judged tells me these things were never God’s desire for us. They are our reality but they are not God’s desire. We are pressed upon by the reality of the sinful world we live in but we *should* never be without joy. The joy that comes via the Holy Spirit and Christ during times of distress. To glamorize depression as a jumping stone or a tool God might use to bring someone into a closer walk with him I think is a tad askew. I think we fall into it and God can and does use many things but he does not need the tool of evil, sin, etc to bring good to light. He has told us how our joy might be full. Depression can be a battlescar that we are in a fight but there would be no fight in the first place if we hadn’t started the war. Anyway. I do agree you can be sorrowful and taxed but classifying sorrow as depression leaves it a little too hazy, IMO, that it might be confused with the idea it is okay to live in blackness and doubt and hurt and anger, All I am saying is it is not okay. I’m not judging only saying it is not okay. I don’t believe God wants it and I don’t want it either. Yes we have a reality of sin but that does not mean I warm up to it. Scripture tewlls us that Christ was sorrowful but the question is was he ever depressed. Is there a difference between mourning , or sorrow and depression? I think there is.

    • Cadis

      Sorry for the errors I can’t edit

    • Michael T.

      Simply because something that God would not want is a reality in a fallen and sinful world does not make it in and of itself sin. It is NOT a sin to be a starving person in a third world country despite the fact that starvation is something that exists only as a result of the fall and not something God desires. Something that simply happens to someone as the result of the sinful world we live in cannot be termed sin for that person. A person who is ill, or starving, or homeless, is not personally sinning and will NOT be held accountable for being in such a state (unless of course it was sinful choices they made which put them in said state).

    • Carl D'Agostino

      Isn’t the life of Jesus preparation to fulfill the scripture as Messiah? He says he will die and rise. He who believes will be with Him. ” No one reaches the Father but through me. ” He knows his fate and purpose. So it seems he knows and is conscious of the meaning of his life and death in the present for the people of His time and with believers in all times and beyond. Messianic consciousness? ” I am the alpha and the omega.”

      Now on the Holy Spirit: How can Jesus be instructed and molded by it if the Trinity is separate but one and there is no hierarchy for the three. If the 3 parts the same they are equal. What could one teach the other two? I thought God may enter my soul through Jesus revealed , via the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is for us earthlings to get connected.

      When did Jesus become Jesus seems an energy wasting question. On the other does it matter? The Catholics have this all pretty delineated, but for me it’s so precise that God Himself couldn’t articulate this as well as they do, so all their stuff here I disregard.

      Cadis #1 Depression a sin? The “pity pot” stuff is self indulgent and dismissive of the healing power of Jesus and being full of the Holy Spirit should fill the void of depression. But a sin from a theological view? As depression is considered both a physiological and psychological a malady how can it be a sin?Also Jesus is no prophet. That’s what Islam teaches. He is the source of Redemption.

      “Father, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” I can never figure out what this means. Can word “forsaken” be translated differently? Could “Father” really mean “humankind?

    • Jeff

      Cadis … sorry I misspelled your name in an earlier post. It is fine to distinguish sorrow and sadness from depression. Everyone experiences some sadness and some people experience full depression. But it is wrong to consider depression a sin.

      Depression is not glamorous, it’s not something to be desired and no one who has been through it would wish it on anyone. It is also not something to be ashamed about … it is an illness … and it has physiological basis. There are many things that might lead to someone having a depression including trauma, stress, environmental conditions and genetics.

      Quite simply, depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and it is treatable. Its not a spiritual problem nor a Sin and the people that experience it shouldn’t be labeled with such a false stigma. Often good people experience depression (even Christians). This stigma about it has been a failing of our culture and even our church for years and it has to stop.

      I think we share a dislike for illness in general and for suffering, although suffering is a generally accepted part of the Christian walk … but please don’t be so quick to put the person suffering from a depression in some kind of offender status or in a special state of sin. These are people that are helpless and would like nothing more than to be free of the suffering. Sometimes they are people you actually love … sometimes they are you.

      There is a good book on depression by Dr. Paul Meier (a Christian psychiatrist) called Blue Genes. Check it out.

      Here is a good scripture that shows that sometimes people’s suffering is not due to their sin … John 9:1-3

      As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
      3″Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.

      Only Jesus knows if He…

    • Michael T.

      Good passage Jeff, Luke 13 (though often misinterpreted) says essentially the same thing. Calamity, illness, and death are not a sign that one is in sin, though they should, as Luke 13 indicates, serve as a reminder of the frailty of life and the need to turn to God or continue to walk with Him if one already has.

    • bethyada

      Quite simply, depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and it is treatable.

      Unfortunately it is not that simple.

      The evidence for this is not strong. Even if changes are found, causation versus reverse causation would be difficult to prove.

    • Cadis

      Yes Bethyda,

      I think that is the crux of the matter.

      I also think (**note it is just my unqualified thoughts**) but I think sorrow is a certain state of sin. We will not have sorrow in heaven. Poverty too is a certain state or condition we can find ourselves in due to sin entering the world. Neither of those two certain states are always due to personal sin, sometimes they are. I never said that depression is always due to personal sin. You can be sorrowful and not sin. You can be angry and not sin. But when balance has been lost and you are consumed with anger or bitterness you are now entering a differrent state of sin. In general speaking terms *I think* the average person can control whether they enter into common depression. Once you are in depression, it’s not easy getting out. Are there physiological changes that occur as a result? I think is more the question.
      Christ said be not anxious or worried for the things of tommorrow. This indicates to me that you can control being anxious and worried. You can control doubt . It is a warning. This is not a statement meant to judge or stigmatize any Christian, it is what I would try to reason through with my ownself and my own loved ones too. Even following something as awful as the death of a child, depression would certainly be understandable and compassion is owed but to say well this is just a physiological state that follows a tramatic event, expect it, embrace it, it’s all natural and good may be leading someone into a further *state* of depression due to a feeling of helplessness and lack of control. Can a person control thier emotional and mental state and not enter depression? * I think* they can. Does that make a depressed person culpable for their own depression? Yes but it also means they can control it, that can be the greatest hope to a depressed individual. We need to be careful on both sides of the issue.

    • wandering_sheep

      Never embrace depression, anger, worry, doubt. This certainly seems true. These emotions are not your friends.

      What of the role of love in all this? If we nurture the love we have in our hearts for humanity, for God and His creation, will there be less space in our hearts for negative feelings?

    • Cadis

      Michael T,

      I hear you. Maybe I should not be attaching the word sin to poverty or what I said was “a certain state of sin”..meaning.. it is a result of sin, or the fall. I’m not sure how else to classify these non-ideal states that have reared due to sin and the fall. I assumed Christians would understand there are different clasifications of sin and certain states that have resulted due to sin. Is this better? Poverty is a certain state that is present as a by product of sin and the fall. Just as is physical illness. Either way I don’t think you can compare poverty and depression they are different situations or states .

    • Jeff


      I appreciate your response and I regret that I used the words “Quite simply”. It implies that I have some kind of super understanding or authority that I don’t have. In fact, I’m relying on the modern medical community when I make that claim.

      I’m ultimately just trying to help people become sensitive to the fact that we as a church need to encourage people with depression and give them hope for healing without the feeling of condemnation that they brought this on themselves. There are treatments available for depression today that weren’t even possible in years past and I believe it is good to raise awareness of that fact. On the topic of sin, we can trust Christ for judgement of all sin.

      BTW … I don’t think Cadis had any wrong intentions … just a different opinion than me … I see him as just participating in the theological discussion about Christ’s own humanity. The comment about depression being a state of sin just caused me to want to respond because I’ve detected a bias in some parts of the church on this topic that I disagree with.

      The theological discussion about whether Christ could have suffered depression is interesting but not necessary for me to understand that he loves us and wants us to be fully dependent on Him and healed. Our Hope is in Christ.

    • Jeff


      You seem to think that depression may cause physiological changes but the reverse couldn’t be true. I disagree. Making comments like “the average person can control whether they enter into a common depression” causes me problems too. It is that bias that depressed people are less than average and lack control that others have that I take offense to. I’m just saying be careful with this line of thinking.

      It is certainly good advice to seek God and to try and guard your thoughts and actions. Even doing so, we often don’t have complete control over certain situations that lead to many illnesses. Wouldn’t it be possible that this is also true for depression? Or do you think we have complete control over illness in our lives?

    • Carl D'Agostino

      Re my #23 Carl D. Would appreciate possible criticism alternative views as I try to improve my understanding and grow in the faith or perhaps help question my thinking. True scientist must never be closed minded in his conclusions re empirical alleged proofs. Neither should theology teacher or student. So there is no self indulgent pride here for me.

    • Jeff

      Carl D (re: post #23),

      Qualification … I’m a student in this forum not a teacher … but that is stating the obvious … and I want to say that I value this form of discussion … and am reminded to try and check my pride at the door.

      When you wrote “The “pity pot” stuff is self indulgent and dismissive of the healing power of Jesus and being full of the Holy Spirit should fill the void of depression”. I wondered if this wasn’t born out of some judgement on your part. This transition to questioning, complaining or possibly even crying or crying out being self-indulgent and dismissive of the healing power of Jesus is a bit of a jump for me.

      While I can see how the two *might* be related I can’t conclude that they always are. I would wonder if Jesus was dismissing his own healing power in John 11:33-35 when he knew full well a healing was coming for Lazarus.

      When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34″Where have you laid him?” he asked.
      “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

      35Jesus wept.

      Can we ever be so full of the Holy Spirit on this side of heaven that all suffering ends? I don’t think so.

      On the same subject though, I like how you called out that Jesus was indeed more than a prophet and specifically pointed to his role in Redemption … I think this understanding of this primary role helps put some suffering into proper context.

      On the subject of the Trinity and it being inconsistent that Christ could call on Holy Spirit for instruction. I don’t have a problem with the different roles of the Trinity. Jesus often called on and acted on behalf of his Father. In John 14:26, the separate roles seem clear.

      That Christ might call on the Holy Spirit before it was promised seems to be what you might be wrestling with.

    • Michael T.

      The proper terminology for natural disasters, illness, and the like is “natural evil” while poverty, war and the like can be termed “man-made evil”. “Sin” typically implies willing action or omission on the part of an individual for which they are morally culpable before God and thus I would refrain from using it in these circumstances.

    • Carl D'Agostino

      Jeff #33 Thank you for your insights. “Can we ever be full of the Holy Spirit on this side of heaven that all suffering ends? I don’t think so.” If my thoughts came out this way that is miscommunication on my part. I meant to address the argument of the fellow that believes depression is sin and this is an argument HE might make(inadequate use of Holy Spirit to drive out sin). Of course if we think it’s a malady, not sin, which I agree with as do most commenters here, the Holy Spirit explanation is baseless. I merely proposed it as an understanding believers of that doctrine might use to support their way of thinking NOT that I believed such myself.You are *correct in the opening sentence of this comment I have quoted.

      *Oooops, Bad choice of words. Should say ” I agree….

    • JLJ

      Jesus has and always will be. We are free from all sins through Him.

      Hebrews 13:16
      Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

      Luke 6:38
      Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

      Believe those words and head on over to Click on a link or two to help a fellow brother out so he can continue helping others.

      Spread the word to other brothers and sisters.

    • bethyada

      In fact, I’m relying on the modern medical community when I make that claim.

      Who are not beyond polemics or wishful thinking. There is a paucity of data, but not for lack of looking.

      Sin can lead to a multitude of diseases and emotional states, but the converse is not necessarily the case. While self examination and repentance are important, the insistence by some Christians that negative situations (health, emotional, financial) are always due to individual sin is neither true nor helpful. And can lead to much damage. One wonders whether they have read Job?

    • Carl D'Agostino

      Would someone help me with this understanding: when Jesus comments about the destruction of the temple is he speaking of himself or the building? Of course Jesus cannot be destroyed in the spiritual sense but was destroyed in the physical sense crucifixion and death. And both get resurrected so to speak.

      #36 JLJ “Jesus has and always will be. ”
      1. Does this mean like the Catholics articulate that Jesus has always been with God as has the Holy Spirit? The Catholics have this doctrine so perfected, I don’t think a letter from God to us could do better unless to point out error.
      2. Does that mean Jesus does not materialize by human style birth? Is birth point of Incarnation?Like there is non of that manger stuff. If so, faith founded upon mythology.
      3. Does he become Messiah at baptism or is is Messiah even with Trinity as one of the three molecules(for lack better term) of trinity or part of Mind that is Trinity? Like in pre creation?
      4. He is Savior now and forever?
      5. Does he exist in the thought of God pre human existence? Or does God design Him as available when human existence evolves?
      6. Does he manifest at moment of realization Messianic mission in adulthood to begin ministry?
      7. Are Jews correct in calling Trinity pantheism? (don’t waste time addressing this, just rhetorical, Trinity defined Christian understanding).

      #4 gives me all the figuring out I need. Rest seems gymnastics of algebra word language.

    • Edward T. Babinski

      Did Christ know the time of his coming?

      Rather, the question should be whether or not the words in
      Mark 13 (upon whose “little apocalypse” the others are based in Matthew and Luke) was a true representation of what the historical Jesus said.

      Did Jesus say “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father”? The idea of “not knowing,” the idea of a “delay of the parousia” could have been added to a prediction made by Jesus. What if the “not knowing” verse was added later as an excuse for the delay? For instance, read these three verses, which all appear in order in Mark 13, but just delete the third one:

      Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.

      Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

      But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

      Lastly, even if Jesus spoke those words, note that a “generation” lay within the span of “days and hours.”

      So, there’s various ways to interpret those “words of our Lord.” Some think that most of the little apocalypse chapter (Mark 13) isn’t based on words of the historical Jesus so much as on the words of some other “prophets” living far nearer the actual time of Jerusalem’s destruction. Josephus mentions one such fellow who went round Jerusalem predicting the fall of the city a couple years before it happened. He also mentions an Egyptian who predicted that the walls of Jerusalem would fall. The Jews were already rebelling against Rome before Jesus’ day, just as they’d rebelled against their Greek overlords before the Romans conquered Palestine.

    • Lucian

      There are indeed a lot of things Christ never got to experience (because of the pure and holy life He lead as God incarnate)… but it wasn’t because He wasn’t somehow able to be tempted by them in the first place… Christ did knew our suffering and despair on the Cross: so trust in Him with all your soul and follow the teachings of the Gospel with faith in God. God bless you and keep you! +

    • Wyatt

      I’ve read a fifth option that Christ was teaching ignorance. I forgot who I read it from, possibly martin llyod-jones

    • Perry Robinson

      Following post Chalcedonian Christology here is a better proposal. Contra Apollinarianism, Christ has a human soul and hence a human mind. Christ has two minds or intellects, just as he has two wills. The intellect then, contrary to contemporary (Lockian) thinking is not the person. The person is more than consciousness. Christ then can be all knowing and ignorant at the same time relative to the two minds he has as one divine person. This tells us something very important, contrary to the prevailing Hellenism, that knowledge and ignorance aren’t opposites.

      You can find this solution in a number of authors, Cyril of Alexandria, Maximus the Confessor, all the way up to a number of the Latin Scholastics, like Aquinas.

    • Carl D'Agostino

      #42 Robinson Two minds? All knowing and ignorant? You can find this solution….. A solution? Now we must have an omnipotent God and an ignorant God too and what was that heresy with God the good Creator and the other God of this world, the trickster, the God of suffering and evil as the explanation for unmerited suffering? Then we have a Jesus resurrecting in the physical body and in contradiction rising in Spirit only. The Jesus with no body but a spiritual illusion from the Father. Then Jesus with God from infinity, Jesus as Messiah at birth not infinity, Jesus as Messiah when ministry begins . Jesus Messiah at crucifixion, and Jesus as Messiah at resurrection. Now we have not two but fifteen gazillion Jesuses!
      This is no solution. No wonder the Jews accuse us of pantheism! On top of all this we have the Holy Spirit and all the Gods and Jesuses of all the denominations. It would be easier just to have Isis of the Egyptians or the sun of the Aztecs or money for that matter. With BA/MA religion I have given up figuring all this out as just try to live a
      life with kindness and charity for all and let the God chips fall where they may and flush my education down the toilet.

    • Anita Fedoriw

      Yes Jesus was depressed. Matthew 26:37B-38 says, “….and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with me.”
      In the KJV the word distressed is translated “very heavy” and in the strongs (85) means depressed.

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